28 November 2007

Still here! Kinda

In the last week alone, I have

Had two invasive procedures done within quick succession
Watched someone get fired
Seen off two old employees
Welcomed two new employees
Taken on twice my workload
Worked late
Worked early
Worked early then late
Seriously considered quitting all extra-curricular activities
Seriously considered quitting my job
Found out I do not have cancer
Told off my boss
Celebrated our Nan’s 94th
Watched my husband turn into a sci-fi alien (albeit an adorable sci-fi alien)
Cried like a twit
Laughed like a maniac
Dragged my banjo up the Southbank

And I am f*cking exhausted.

More importantly though, how are you?

23 November 2007

Another last year

I have a question for you.

If you found out today that you had one year exactly to live, what would you want to do with that year?

Make a list!

Bruce sent me this email the other morning, so I dropped what I was doing (work) and set about making my list. Within a half hour, I had a list that was over 60 items long. I sent it to him as an attachment and he emailed back straight away to say that we would print it out and try and execute as much of it as we could. Then the following year, he’ll write his list and we’ll set about tackling that as well.

The objective is to live each year as though it’s our last, a perspective I’ve been trying to get someone to adopt with me since I was old enough to recognise my own inertia. He thinks we can reasonably manage over half the list (I don’t think I’ll be foisting him onto some other woman in preparation for my impending death, for instance), and I think he’s right. We just need to be proactive about it.

We’ve certainly wasted no time in tackling number 20 (eat things I’m scared of eating because they will make me fat), and last night devoured a whole tub of Haagen-dazs between the two of us. I’m at work now, just back from a meeting that has me wondering if I should promote number 50 (quit my job) to the doable half of my list.

Actually, things could indeed work out in my favour one day, though for the time being it looks like I’ll be starting from the ground up all over again, re-establishing pretty much all my routines. I might as well have been handed a brand new position, since by the time I manage to extricate myself from current familiar responsibilities and immerse myself in strange new ones, I’ll hardly recognise the role.

Wish I could say more, but writing about internet-related work on the internet is like visiting your parents in a MUM, U SUCK t-shirt.


21 November 2007

10 things about me, some of which are true

(Thanks for the idea, Lass)

1. Once when I was three, I accidentally grabbed a gay man’s bare scrotum and made him scream.

2. My eyes are actually two different colours, blue and brown, but I wear a brown contact lens because of the stigma (not of the eye variety). When you’re shorter than everyone and plump and talk too much, you can’t afford to be different in any other way. I probably would have chosen blue but back then, they didn’t have that wild colour pixel technology that could make a lighter coloured eye out of a dark-coloured one, and by the time they did, I was already stuck with brown.

3. I saved a napkin used by Tom Cruise at Burger King whilst I was on holidays with my parents in the States, but only because my mother said I should. My dad threw it out by mistake when he was cleaning my room because it looked like any other used paper napkin.

4. I won a story-writing contest when I was thirteen years old but couldn’t collect the prize because the contest was for Best Short Story by a New Writer Over Fifty and I would have had to go to Montana to collect it and my father wouldn’t go on my behalf.

5. I can tie a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue.

6. I have a phobia about toe-nails which is why I rarely cut mine. It got so bad that I couldn’t even look at my own feet and had to invent ways of wearing black opaque tights at all times, even in summer. I’m planning to work through these issues with a therapist, among other issues I haven’t spoken about to anyone.

7. I’m not a very good liar.

8. I excel at telling tall-tales.

9. Right now, at this very moment, I am writing an entry called “10 things about me, some of which are true” in the bathtub on a tiny laptop Bruce stole from work. It’s perched on my knees, which I’ve carefully dried, and I don’t think I’d get electrocuted if I dropped it in the bath water because a) I wouldn’t be capable of destroying a piece of property that wasn’t mine and b) even if I was, it isn’t plugged in.

10. This bath is hot, I’m getting out now.

Altogether spooky

Did you know that even if you toast a bagel to near-blackness and fill it with sandwichy things and pack it away for later, the moisture generated by its own heat will eventually turn it back into the tough, chewy bagel it was before you toasted it? True story, and an annoying one at that!

I’m thinking I might have to start taking the bus to work, as walking is beginning to turn me into the red-faced, overweight, anger-managementless salesman I most certainly am not (maybe in a past life).

Like today, trapped inside a construction site’s man-made pedestrian path, a woman refused to let me pass her. She not only walked ahead of me in an inhumanly slow fashion but then half-turned to me at the end and grinned so that I knew she’d done it on purpose.

And I said, Nice work you stupid twat, now I’m really going to be late! in my head (because I’m not only a stress-case but a cowardly stress-case).

Earlier, I passed a woman with annoyingly perfect legs painted with an annoyingly cool pair of burgundy tights that were perfectly encased in an annoyingly perfect pair of tall black boots. And then five minutes later she ran past me in order to reclaim the lead, only to slow down again. Annoying!

There is a girl I pass each day who doesn’t annoy me – a school girl whose oddness makes me wonder about her.

Face on, she’s nearly two-dimensional, her green eyes a bit feral, her features likely a perfect replica of her mother’s because they make her look much older than she is. Do her threadbare school socks slouch a bit rebelliously? Perhaps. And does her poker-straight hair evenly match the slightly militaristic black boots she wears with her dark skirt and blazer? Most definitely.

She could be part of the Adam’s family, the real one, or in a few years someone’s pierced Gothic Princess fantasy. I know what you’re thinking boys, but hold your horses! First she has to try her luck with the bland, well-adjusted school boys, probably the one with rough elbows, speckled forearms and hair like a flame – No! Like the flame on a purple candle in a black-painted room that lights the bowl of a homemade bong overflowing with hash!

He’s not the most popular boy in school, but you wouldn’t catch him having his lunch surrounded by any less than two or three other boys of his calibre. He kicks balls so hard that if they hit you in the face, nobody would blame you for crying. He can eat three hotdogs in one go at your pool party. He makes wheelie-popping seem easier than throwing a rock through a neighbour’s window, and he blazes past her on his BMX sometimes, expressly to knock the black beret off her head. Oh well.

Ready or not, here she comes, completely at ease in the strangeness of the figure she cuts, that flat portfolio more than half her size tucked neatly beneath one arm as she whistles past you like a fine knife-blade through water. Her name is likely Deborah and she is gonna rock your world one day maybe.

I dunno, I really think I ought to take the bus from now on.

20 November 2007

Sleep thoughts

I was recently invited to participate in a monthly work-related, my-specific-job-related meeting. I wasn’t told anything about it – just that it was the first of a never-ending series and something about blue sky ideas-sharing.

But I was tricked.

I showed up and was basically told that I had to do more work, and not even for me or my manager or my products. Just for the company; just because. Every week. That hardly seems fair.

But anyway, no point in ranting obscurely about it here, at work, on my desktop I’ve seen taken over no less than four times by IT, who surely have my IP address memorised by now. Big Brother needs to take a big leap off a big building, if you ask me.

Last night I woke up sometime in the early hours and figured it was nearly time to get up, so I might as well lie here and think about death. I’m not sure what it is about sleep that pares me down to my basest elements and robs me of all defences. Because it’s sleep I guess.

It’s a horrible thought though, isn’t it? That on a daily basis we face the very real possibility of an eternity of nothingness, of no self. Every moment! The rug and the entire universe just pulled out from under us. It takes my breath away sometimes.

By the end of that thought, I realised it wasn’t anywhere near seven, so I also began compiling a list of things I want to eat/do when I go back to Canada over Christmas:

1. Tim Horton’s coffee/donuts
2. Earl’s hot wings with blue cheese dip and celery
3. Cheese Wiz and pickles on toast (All crap, I know)
4. Breathe fresh air
5. Stare slack-jawed at trees
6. Say things like “cell phone” and “garbage can” and “to-may-toe” and “how’s it going?” and other things we don’t say here
7. Sit in the passenger’s seat of a car at least twice
8. Watch American television
9. Visit the John Fluvog store. And laugh at all the stupid shoes.
10. Make a reservation somewhere. And go there at that time. And eat something then.
11. Dry some clothes in a dryer.
12. Have a shower in a stand-up shower

I dunno, that’s as far as I got. I didn’t fall asleep. I went on to think of how effing strange it is, living here and loving Bruce (well, that’s not strange in itself, but certainly having had the opportunity to meet Bruce in the first place) and wanting things I’ve never wanted before, having things I never thought I’d have (like a Bulgarian cleaner named Sissy).

I don’t usually have time to reflect on things like this, like anything really, but when I do: hoo-boy! It boggles the mind.

If anyone can be bothered to think of some specifically North American-like things to do in North America, please feel free to add to my list. I might not have time to finish it myself and then I’ll be there and home again before I know it.

18 November 2007

And darkness and decay and the paper towel dispenser held illimitable dominion over all

By October, the leaves on Bermondsey Street had been mashed into shiny yellow flakes like fish food on the glossy pavement. Then more leaves fell. It’s the end of November now, and the inexhaustible store of continually falling leaves is accompanied by rain and the white puff of your breath as you walk, which is how you know it’s actually winter.

On Friday, we went to see a play called Human Computer at the Battersea Arts Centre. It was happening simultaneous to and directly beneath The Masque of the Red Death – an interactive theatre production which allows patrons to explore the dark world of Poe dressed like complete assholes.

Shortly before our own not-so-conventional but much-less-fussy play was due to start, I went to see a steward about a toilet. She said, “Here, you’ll have to wear one of these and pretend you’re part of the performance,” and handed me a frightening mask that made me look vaguely like batman. Evidently the theatre's only toilet is located squarely within the production of The Masque of the Red Death.

Now a freakish looking cat, the stewardess said, “I’ll take you there, wait for you to come out and then walk you back. Don’t be scared. And don’t say anything.”

She typed in a code and we entered into a dark, smoke-filled Victorian Gothic nightmare. An organ played low, long notes and a bell tolled the hour as we moved cautiously past a stationary figure in a spooky mask and came upon a blue-painted swinging door that bore a white plaque reading:


The carefully construed storybook world of Poe hadn’t made it as far as the loo, which was just as well. The bell tolled one and I flushed the toilet, washed my hands, took a sneaky photo of my masked self and returned to my guide, who delivered me safely back to the land of the living.

I’m quite pleased that I got to have the Masque of the Red Death and Toilets experience for free. Human Computer was pretty good too.

Prior to this, I’d bought myself a pair of these cheeky things, which I probably would have slept in all weekend had Bruce allowed me to.

My second spontaneous but necessary purchase – a fitted red coat - took place only a few hours ago at Spitalfields Market, which, had I known it existed only a short bus ride from home, I would have insited we visit every Sunday for the last year. Which is probably why Bruce waited until now to take me there.

Afterwards, we had the best sausage and mash ever at a cozy, warm diner called S&M, though the only painful part of the experience was realising my plate was empty of sausage and mash. We’ve made a pact to eat there every Sunday, which means I’d better keep up my walks to work unless I want to actually become a sausage.

Back at the ranch, we spent an uncomfortable few hours watching Code Unknown. Were it not for Michael Haneke, I think I’d become far too complacent about life. It’s good to remember that fictional characters much like us suffer, because. Well, why not.

x365: 16 of 365 - Chad

I wasn’t sure who had it worse: you or me. But all our various games had the same objective – a dependable system of punishment and reward we could both live with.

17 November 2007

x365: 15 of 365 - Alison

bought her first car at age 16. She’d drive slowly past storefront windows to see herself reflected in her new vehicle. I could see my reflection too, in the passenger’s seat.

16 November 2007

Consider yourself one of us

It is my one year anniversary of moving to the UK. I plan to celebrate by working my ass off and then falling down dead probably.

This week has been one of most taxing, at least in terms of business and exhaustion, but I think I’ve managed to keep all my proverbial balls in the air. (The non-proverbial balls are sitting on my bedside table in a glass of water.)

Looking back on things generally, I know I’m in a much, much better place than I was this time last year. My confidence at work has grown exponentially and I’m able to get around on my own now without becoming very lost and/or panicky.

I’ve lost an entire stone (14 lbs for those of you measuring in modern times) and am far less angry and anxious about everything. The self-destructive tendencies I used to possess have all but dissipated, my only remaining vice being a quick (but thorough) nibble on my cuticles.

Most importantly perhaps, I’ve learned that in maintaining happiness, the end often justifies the means, especially if the means involve not giving into those little voices that do their utmost to trip you up. If you can keep on top of the voices, you’ll have much more energy for the fun stuff, like love and cooking and banjo.

I’m not resting on my laurels though - I’ve still got a long way to go. This year I’ll do some of the things that scare the hell out of me, like widening our social circle with some friends of my own and focusing my energies less on television (or something else, maybe…eating?) and more on the things I want to accomplish, big and small.

One day I’ll hit my stride and stop scrutinizing everything and everyone and just settle into life as I would a soft, comfortable armchair. That’s my hope.

Oh, this just in – My Bloody Valentine have reformed and are playing some shows here in June, and Bruce managed to score us two tickets for my birthday. Hot damn! Now we just have to remember to attend.

15 November 2007

They’re going to build a ladder/ it’s going to take you forever

Some girls direct their gaze at a distant point and scowl as they pass you, like you’re a tree trunk or a lower specimen of some kind - a child with a snotty nose maybe. I’ve done that before, a number of times, but I promise you - I’m not that girl.

Walking to work, I find that a tear will sometimes come to my eye because of the wind. If I squeeze hard enough, I can feel it on the bridge of my nose. At times like these, I wonder what it is I’m crying about, but then I remember: nothing. Sometimes a tear is just water. Sometimes the worst feelings never resolve into anything like crying.

I think that most people with okay upbringings are really reluctant to imagine the parental paradigm as anything but ultimately exonerated. I know this because there are loads of children with alcoholic mothers and absent fathers and violent grandparents, but anytime I’ve ever told someone I can’t love my mother, they think I’m making stuff up.

But really, it’s as though one day, some random person approached two crazy people (my parents) and handed them a bundle (me) and said to them, “Here, can you look after this for the next eighteen years? I’ve got a few errands to run.”

And my dad went out back to have a smoke and my mother looked into my eyes with her glistening, owlish dead ones and thought, “I need a new pink lipstick.”

If truth becomes creative enough, is it then considered fiction? Or does that only apply to undergrads with too much time on their hands?

Yesterday there was a fire drill at work. They test the system every week and a voice pipes up on the system to tell us it’s only a drill. But yesterday the alarm sounded and it was the wrong day of the week and there was no announcement and everyone got up and put on their coats and filed out into the stairwell.

We were on a high floor and it took a long time to get to the exit. At about the fifth floor, the alarm stopped sounding in short bursts and broke out into an ear-shattering death rattle. Then a voice did come onto the system. And the voice said there was a fire.

Everyone got stuck in the stairwell at that point; the queue stopped moving entirely, I’m not sure why. And I thought, “I’m going to die on the fifth floor of this building.”

But I didn’t, we all made it out, all 1100 of us, including the yellow-jacketed fire marshals, and into the park. Then we turned around and came straight back inside again.

Now that we’ve done that once safely, I know that the next time will be different. Your first run is always successful, your subsequent attempts riddled with mistakes.

I don’t want to be a mistake; I want to be spot on.

12 November 2007

Happiness real only when shared

I was sitting at my desk this morning, as usual ignoring the glorious riverside view of a London skyline that’s only ever a glance away, and in a moment of reflection when I finally did look up, I noticed for the first time a massive black mushroom-like cloud that had been steadily making its way across an otherwise clear sky. Before I knew it, my Hollywood education had taken over and I was out of my chair shouting, Jesus Christ, what is that?!

Following this was a floor-wide dash to windows, news pages and mobile phones as everyone tried in various ways to determine whether or not it was something to worry about. As it turns out, a warehouse in Stratford had caught fire, the rubber tyres contained therein responsible for the blackness of the smoke.

The blaze is situated near the site of the 2012 Olympic Games, though there isn’t even anything built there yet, so I suppose the culturally indeterminate among us can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for today.

Everyone was back at their desks before long, but it was an eerie experience for me overall. The entirety of my hometown would have to be aflame in order to make that sort of an impact, visually-speaking. And the fact that everyone around me was initially behaving as though we could be the next potential targets of something much larger didn’t escape my notice either. The summer of 2004 is still imbedded in municipal consciousness I guess.

Bruce and I went to see Into the Wild last evening. I wish I’d have known what everyone else knew, which was that it’s based on a true story and *SPOILER FOR THE UNSPOILT AMONG YOU* he was never gonna make it. Boo. What a gorgeous film though. If I never saw another film again, I think that would definitely top my list. Apparently, Sean Penn nearly ruined the entire thing by casting Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role, but then the family backed out and it wasn’t made for another ten years. Whew!

Okay, that’s lunch.

11 November 2007

Everyone in the world is an asshole - except for you

On Saturday I stood in a queue at the Royal Mail depot watching an American with a wide, flat bum talk loudly on his mobile phone in spite of a sign asking patrons to PLEASE REFRAIN FROM USING YOUR MOBILE PHONE. I did this to pick up a package sent by the inimitable Lass, who drew my name out of a hat for a prize (thank you!). The draw was based on best invented city slogan. Mine was:

London: “Leave Your Vomit in Our Underground!”

You could replace Vomit with just about anything though, up to and including Human Faeces. Ewww.

The prize was a lovely hard-cover book of picture art by Donny Miller, entitled Beautiful People with Beautiful Feelings. It came right on time, as I was feeling altogether much too seriously about myself as per usual. And it’s nice to be jarred out of that and have a bit of a laugh about things once in a while.

Actually, I’ve been enjoying myself immensely these last few months, since letting go of my anxiety a little bit. I’d like to think the cease-booze helped matters but actually I’m not sure. What I am sure about is that for the first time in who knows how long, I have really and truly felt what it feels like to be me, just me as I am. And whereas it’s not the most comfortable feeling always, it is far better than being any other way I’ve tried to be, including very drunk.

I’ve walked a total of five hours this week and yesterday I bought two amazing jumpers that I love with a ferocity most people reserve for their own children. We’re going to see Sean Penn’s new film tonight at Surrey Quays and then we’re coming home to eat steak, watch television and practise our respective crafts (I’m becoming increasingly adept at torturing the banjo).

Good stuff.

08 November 2007

I do go on (and there's a SPOILER, okay?)

*In my institutional-observational documentarian voice*:

That’s not to say that there isn’t a sense of play amongst the British, though this type of humour (predicated on the mock-subversion of their strict conventional code, of course) seems mainly to take place between close friends or colleagues and serves to strengthen established relationships or engender a sense of belonging in newly formed alliances.

It’s charming, and it really highlights the fact that I’m, like, not fitting in. I am a horrible, anti-social recluse who can barely stand to be among friends!

Oh well.

(And cut. Check the gate, it’s a wrap.)

We’ve been watching a lot of Michael Haneke lately. You know - the guy who remade an American version of Funny Games? I know I said bad things about that film, and about Haneke in general, but once the hate wore off, I was left with a lingering sense of dread that could only be remedied by watching more Michael Haneke.

It’s an awfully persistent linger, so it’s a good thing we have five more films left in our Michael Haneke box set.

We finished The Seventh Continent a few days ago, and I have to say that even in the midst of the horror there is something compassionate about the eye that records it. You have to choke and nearly asphyxiate on the message before it finally softens enough to sink in.

In the Seventh Continent, a Viennese family goes through its rather depressing routines of breakfast, school/work, dinner and bed, resulting in long shots of silent car washes, scenes of tacitly insipid domesticity and an overall mood of futility.

Somewhere past the middle-mark, it dawns on viewers that the family (a husband, his wife and their nine-year-old daughter) mean to commit suicide. And while your brain may be screaming NO! at this revelation, there’s something terribly logical about it – something that makes you want to see it through with them.

So you do that, and then you’re left with the whys and wherefores and these horrible, almost beautiful images that have already burrowed in the mind’s eye.

The filmmaker seems to approach subjects in the same way a self-harmer approaches life - asking difficult questions about existence and painfully probing for answers that might possibly bring the fracturing of self (already exacerbated by the isolation and alienation of middle-class establishment) into sharp focus.

And I think his films toy with the notion that if convention ever ceased to be upheld, society – any society – would buckle beneath the unfamiliar weight of fiction.

We’ve tamed, shaped and internalised fiction to the extent that we can spy our little lives through its dark lens, though I think there still remains an unsettling uncertainty about our place in these real and imagined paradigms that encourages us to explore the source of discomfort again and again.

I think Kubrick could have learned a thing or two from Haneke. Maybe he did.

07 November 2007

x365: 14 of 365 - Husband

Your beauty often stuns me into silence but then you say something funny and I have to respond. So the result is pretty goofy at times. In case you ever wondered.

06 November 2007

x365: 13 of 365 - Infinity

Your countenance is blank and ugly. In an aeon, will the ghost of my consciousness stir just enough to moan at the horror of your work? Let us never meet there.

05 November 2007

The importance of having lampshades

Note to self: Please keep your big ideas to yourself from now on, okay? Because now you have the job of implementing those ideas on top of the work you already have. Which is absurd!

Awkwardness is here to stay at Circus Central. They’ve gotten rid of the moony assistant editor and replaced him with none other than…


And I’m trying to think of ways to stretch out the precious few hours I have in a day, or to find the courage to request a promotion in title so that I can at least have an assistant. Either/or.

Enough said about work. Let’s see what last week had in store in terms of


As it turns out, the excruciating pain I was experiencing in my mouth was to do with the fact that my temporary filling fell out, leaving a gaping hole to an exposed nerve that the dentist didn’t find that first time around.

Which leads me to the second point I wanted to make:

A root canal is not as painful as others would have you believe. As my dentist said (and demonstrated): as long as you numb the area appropriately, the patient won’t feel a thing.

He wasn’t quite as upfront about what a patient will feel once that long hour of hard drilling and scraping has been accomplished and the numbing finally wears off, but que sera sera.

And if that isn’t bad enough, I also put my arm down on an exposed light bulb on Saturday, creating a perfect circle of charred skin. At least I now know that lampshades serve more than an aesthetic purpose. The price of knowledge does not come cheap, people! Uh, person. (God, who even reads this thing anymore?) (Don’t answer that.) Enjoy the fruits of my labour.

Hey, so I didn’t want to say anything before because I didn’t want to jinx it, but it’s been twenty-two days since I’ve had a drink – nay, a single sip of alcohol (unless you count the Victorian Lemonade, which unbeknownst to my consumerly fervour had 0.5% alcoholic content but was too costly to pour down the drain, so. Yum.).

This decision was taken because I finally realised that I like waking up to no hangover and prefer not to have heated debates about issues that only matter when I am pissed as a fart.

Besides which, I hear that unless you’re a six-foot-tall celebrity (maybe), shaking your thang whilst standing on a speaker after you’ve hit the 30-year mark is considered. Shall we say. Pathetic? That’s pretty much what ‘uninhibited’ entails for me, so off the sauce I go.

And you know: it’s not so bad. I’m staying home more and extending my voracious opinion in social circumstances a bit less, but maybe the world doesn’t need to know so much about my personal application of Nietzsche’s ‘eternal return’ or how hard done by I was during my adolescence. Probably.

X365: 12 of 365 - Cloudesley

subverts mythology. This we know for sure: as the founding member of DAS and The National Pissed, he is never far from beer. He’s taking care of our cats over Christmas.

04 November 2007

x365: 11 of 365 - Graham

You'd pick me up on your scooter after Alison went to bed and we'd park and watch rabbits in the schoolyard. It started off innocently enough. We were a terrible match.

03 November 2007

x365: 10 of 365 - Old Rosemary

lived next door and owned a sulky Persian cat named Champ(ingion). I once licked Rosemary's inner arm and slapped a temporary tattoo there before she could react. My mother was horrified.

02 November 2007

They will see us waving

Slowly I am filling this gigantic and unruly skin of work, pushing my puppeteer poles around in the appendages, making it amble a bit.

You haven’t seen the guts of a corporation until you’ve sat in the top-floor boardroom with a notebook, a pen and a 180 degree view of the city. These are the moments in which I’m certain I’ve been astral projected into the body of someone else. Someone who knows something about payment portals and annual targets and Pareto’s law.

But then I realise that I actually do know quite a bit. The litmus test is whether or not you can muddle through something you’ve never seen/done/thought about before, referencing only things you’ve done in the past.

I’m pretty good at my job now, and I’m even venturing into new territory, bringing others along for the ride. My crowning achievement so far has been talking the editor into writing a weblog for the online component of the magazine and then having him ask me if I’d write one too, from a foreigner’s perspective.

And a door I recognise opens.

We’ll see where it leads. At the very least, the premise automatically overcomes that difficult first breach of a stiff peel; with a practical reason to investigate the murky nature of the industry, I’ll be finally and truly stepping into this role for the first time.

That Scottish dude has to go, however. He’s not only touchy feely – he’s downright pompous, for no real reason except that IT people always think they’re shit hot.


No, it’s only sex. And French film.

Our last screening at the London Film Festival was Francois Ozon’s Angel, which never resolved into something I could fully appreciate. It seemed a half-assed attempt at ironic reflexivity, one that poorly masked the tired old tradition of fetishizing the female lead.

It made me uncomfortable in the same was as Cold Comfort Farm; given the bland nature of its setting and unlovable cast, all you could really focus on was the ethereal beauty of Kate Beckinsale and her stupid hair pin. Nice for all you virile young men, but what about me?

Here, I’ll save you the trouble

In this instance, the characters were so absurd and ugly (except for Angel, who was absurd and beautiful) and the dialogue so histrionic that you couldn’t possibly take it seriously. I kept waiting for a punchline that never came. Which lead me to believe (correctly, gathering from what Francois Ozon said during the Q&A) that I was meant to take it a bit seriously after all and possibly end up in the thrall of Angel Deverell. Which, nu uh.

One day I will make a film wherein Cillian Murphy does nothing for two hours but purse his lips and bat his eyes dewily at the camera whilst puffy schoolmarms powder his butt cleavage and sometimes discuss seventeenth century politics.


is the name of a song I recently learned on the banjo and a good description of what my makeshift trolley did to my hand as I pulled the damn thing over cobblestones and pockmarked tarmac and stippled surfaces that made the whole operation wobble and crash far too many times for practicality’s sake.

Ed says there’s a soft cover with straps that you can purchase to fit over your hard-bodied case if you want to carry it on your back. I’m trying hard not to be cynical here but you can see the dilemma.

This week I learned the awkward art of frailing, which basically means knocking the strings with the tip of your finger rather than picking them. It adds to the difficulty of avoiding strings you don’t want to pick, and I’m having enough trouble keeping things straight in the first place.

I have to sacrifice a lot of technique in order to play the songs in the manner in which they’re supposed to sound. Already Ed has coined my inexpert fingering ‘Friday Style’ and will sometimes imitate the uneconomical way in which I reach the frets, saying, “Actually, that feels quite interesting.” It’s going to get me nowhere in the long run though.


I’m going for phase 2 of my root canal today. Crap.

X365: 9 of 365 – Phil in sales

Please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please shut up!